Avocado Chicken Salad



When I first started really getting into blogging and wanted to be a "real blogger" (because that is a thing), I set a goal of posting 6 times a month. Fancy, I know! As my blog grew, I started to become cray about posting. Fun most of the time, a little stressful...yes! Balancing school, home and constantly posting was apparently not in my juggling act because I failed miserably and disappeared for months. So in going back to my roots...I decided to set a similar goal and I will be posting twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays). A schedule for more organization?!?...I love it! It's an self-proclaimed OCD's dream come true!


I thought I would fill you all in on some more fun stuff that went down while I was MIA. Well on June 30th, the hubby and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary! Although marriage is work, I am happy to say that it went by really quickly and I am excited that we are on our third year:) And since we really loved going to Southeast Asia on our first anniversary, we decided this year we would go to Spain. And actually just came back about 2 weeks ago! I thought in the next few posts I could recap some of my travels (I also went to San Juan, Puerto Rico for a conference).



When we came home we celebrated with dinner at a College Station favorite -- the Republic -- and enjoyed some cake.  I had a local bakery remake our second to top tier of our wedding cake! Basically I wanted to celebrate with Ninja back at home :) We actually tried to take a "family picture" and below is what we "got."


[btw: if you didn't notice, I decided to cut my hair]

So -- avocado chicken salad (aka: guacamole chicken salad). It's awesome. I can easily see this as an appetizer  (on these easy homemade tortilla chips -- link to come) or as a sandwich (just like other chicken salad sandwiches). The hubby ate it on both chips (as a snack when he was hungry) and as a meal (like on French bread) for lunch. He really enjoyed it but so did I. I am not really a big chicken salad fan, but this one, I got into. Because it was not sweet or mixed with crazy things like raisins. hahahah. It's super simple to make too! I used some left over rotisserie chicken I had, but you can also use chicken breasts that you cook yourself.







AVOCADO CHICKEN SALAD 
 Recipe adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

2 medium avocados, diced
3 tbsp. mayo
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 small can of Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies), drained
2 green onions, diced
2 c. cooked, shredded chicken*
Salt and cilantro to taste

Note: I used left over rotisserie chicken but you can also use cooked chicken breast. Just place it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed. It will shred the chicken for you. If you do not have a stand mixer, you can shred by hand.

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, mash avocados together until no large chunks remain. Mix in mayo and lime juice, stirring until well incorporated. Then add salt and cilantro to taste preference. Finally, using a spatula, fold in the can of Rotel (diced tomato with green chilies), green onions, and chicken until evenly distributed. That's it! You are done!

Serve with a side of tortialla chips or on bread as a sandwich OR grab a spoon and eat this sucker as is ;) No judgement....

Enjoy,



Cheesy Chicken & Dumplings




Major blogger fail. Can I even call myself a blogger when I stop posting for 5 months! CRAY! Okay, I shall-define myself as a spontaneous poster. hahahaha :) Well, what has been up with me in these past few months. A LOT. First of all ::drum roll::.....

I DEFENDED MY DISSERTATION!

Completely worth the drum roll and obnoxious bold-capital letters, right? Super awesome BUT the most tragic part? Because I am studying to be a clinical psychologist, I cannot call myself a doctor until after internship (hence the "pending completion of internship" on the cookie.). The coolest part of defending is being welcomed back (if you don't fail...and let me tell you, while you wait for your committee to deliberate -- time is crawling and every moment seems more painful than the last second), is to be welcomed back as "Dr. ---." Making all those agonizing moments of running participants, data collection, data analysis and writing (100s of pages of writing), so worth it. Well, for me it was just welcome back, hahahaha.


I am really excited about completing another chapter in my life and am looking forward to a whole new one (and terrified). Not only have the last few months been filled with dissertating (totally a word), but really (okay, I am going to sound like a hippie but a little part of me is) -- re-finding who I am, centering myself and relaxing. I really needed these past few months to withdraw and do some "me time." And it has been great for me and my happy. I needed some happy -- it was dying in graduate school. But I promise I did not stop baking and cooking. After all the hubby needed to be fed ;)

Here is a simple and amazingly delicious recipe for cheesy (and I mean cheesy) chicken and dumplings. Its a great way to sneak in the veggies without tasting them. Because I HATE peas. I mean like can't stand them, how did they even genetically evolve -- kinda hate. But you can't taste them and you feel good that you got your serving of veggies on. If you don't like this recipe, I am not sure we can be friends ;) 





CHEESY CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
Adapted from Pillsbury

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 325F Degrees

1 box of Hamburger Helper -- Cheddar cheese melt
1 2/3 c. hot water 
1 2/3 c. milk 
2 tbsp. butter
2 c. green giant frozen mixed vegetable bag 
1-1.5 c. of mini elbow pasta*
2 c. of cubed chicken (cooked)*
1 (~7.5 oz.) can of Pillsbury refrigerated buttermilk biscuits 
Paprika (optional)

Notes: You can use the pasta that came in the Hamburger Helper box. However, I feel that is not enough, and would definitely not be enough to feed the hubby. For chicken, I love using Tysons grilled chicken strips.

DIRECTIONS

In a large skillet or wok over medium heat, combine contents of sauce packet (from Hamburger Helper Box), hot water, milk, butter and vegetables. Heat mixture until boiling. Stir in pasta and chicken. Return to boiling. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally. Cook until pasta is tender. If the pasta is not tender , but the liquid is low, add 1/3 c. of water and 1/3 c. of milk until tender. 

While the pasta is cooking, cut biscuits into fourths. Once pasta is cooked, place biscuits over hot pasta and place entire skillet in oven. Bake 10-12 minutes until biscuits are cooked through and golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Garnish with paprika (or maybe some extra shredded cheese, if you're a cheese freak like me).

Enjoy,

Cherry Cordial Fudge Covered Brownies



You are probably shocked to know that I still have more from my trip to recap! I was there for over a week, and I did something each day, so...lots and lots to share!


My youngest cousin is 14-years-old (soon to be 15)! Although I wasn't there when she was born, we have been in her life, pretty much ever since the day she was born. When my family moved out to California, my aunt (her mom) moved into an apartment right next to us (since both our families were house shopping). They found a house in the same area and my family found a house about 45 minutes away. If you are from California, you know, that is not far at all! And we always saw each other. So, I have seen this girl grow up :) She was as cute as a button as a kid and now is as sweet as can be as a teenager, which says a lot because she is a TEENAGER.


I moved out to Texas when she was 9 :/ Because of that, I haven't gotten to keep up with her like I'd want. Thankfully she has a cell phone now, where I can text her :) But whenever my sister and I go back to visit family, I always try to make a day to spend with her or see her! And do whatever it is she wants to do, that her mom probably won't do with her (nothing crazy). She decided she wanted to go to Pink's Hot Dogs. We drove to Hollywood and waited for over one hour to just order our hot dogs and cheese fries :) And ate them up, because we were starving. I have to say they are delicious and the ladies that work there are super nice, which is a lot because they have to service so many people. They let you switch out hot dogs for polish sausages or turkey dogs (in my case, since I do not eat beef.....ever wondered why I never post beef recipes...that's why).



After hot dogs my cousin wanted to go to get cupcakes and chose Sprinkles, but she's been to Sprinkles before and so have I. I told her, they were overrated and not the best cupcake. I suggested we go to Georgetown Cupcakes, since they are AMAZING. Although they are a national chain -- they aren't in too many places, but they are in Los Angeles.  And that is what we did (after getting lost for a good 20 minutes). All the while, catching up and talking about teenage things (that I like to keep up with, so she knows I'm here to talk about anything because I love her :) She really liked Georgetown Cupcakes, more than Sprinkles of course, especially this oreo cheesecake cupcake they have....oh my gosh...so so so drool worthy.


Since her birthday was coming up, we ended the night at the mall...hahaha..so high school right? And I took her shopping so she could pick out some outfits that she wanted.

Day 5 of my Valentine's Day Countdown! We are almost there people! We had our program interviews for potential applicants mid-January and we had a potluck dinner while they were here. Since, I knew I was going to make desserts for this countdown, I decided to make this and the Red Velvet M&M Cake Mix Bars early. That way, I had something to bring, there wouldn't be any left overs at the house where the hubby and I would be tempted to eat them (because we would), and I would have two recipes for this countdown already done. This recipes was inspired by my Hot Chocolate 3-Muskateers Fudge Brownies :) Remember this is no fudge brownie...these are fudge on top of fudge brownies!







CHERRY CORDIAL FUDGE COVERED BROWNIES
Adapted from Cookies & Cups

INGREDIENTS

Preheat Oven to 350F Degrees

1 box of fudge brownie mix (family size), baked according to package directions
2 c. chocolate chips
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
10 oz. bag of mini hot chocolate 3-Muskateers bars, chopped
1/2 c. of mini marshmallows

DIRECTIONS

Line a 7 3/4 x 11 3/4 or 9x13 baking dish with aluminum foil. Grease aluminum foil with butter, shortening or cooking spray. This will help when removing bars from baking dish, allow for cooling, and easier, cleaner cutting into squares.
 
Bake brownies according to package directions (I like a thick layer of brownies, so I get family size, but if you want a thin layer, you can get a regular boxed brownie mix). Allow to cool completely.

While brownie is cooling, in a double broiler, combine chocolate chips and condensed milk. Continue stirring, until chocolate chips are melted. Allow to cool slightly but not thicken.

Then evenly sprinkle half of the cherry cordial M&Ms on top of the cooled brownie.  Pour fudge over the the M&Ms. Using a greased spatula, spread fudge evenly over brownies and M&Ms.

Press the remaining M&Ms into the fudge layer. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow fudge to set (overnight is best for cutting into squares, but 1 hour is the best to have the fudgiest fudge brownie...if that makes sense).
Enjoy,
Chika